Alcohol agencies “struggling to cope” with numbers needing treatment

    Alcohol misusers in London are waiting at least twice as long as
    drugs misusers for treatment, according to a charity today,
    writes Maria Ahmed.

    The London Drug and Alcohol Network says people wait an average
    of five weeks for alcohol treatment, compared with one or two weeks
    for drug treatment.

    Chief executive of the Network Shona Beaton said alcohol
    agencies were “struggling to cope with the numbers coming
    through their door”.

    She added: “More work needs to be done to understand why
    problem drinkers are waiting this long for treatment and to address
    resource issues identified.”

    The LDAN’s analysis of information on almost 7,000 people,
    from 27 London boroughs, in contact with alcohol services last year
    also finds that many organisations did not have the resources to
    monitor provision adequately.

    The report identifies a “distinct lack of knowledge”
    over what was happening with alcohol services, gaps in provision,
    length of waiting times, and whether treatment met people’s

    It says data collection and analysis for commissioners and
    funders placed a “significant burden” on alcohol
    treatment providers because of a lack of effective systems.

    The report suggests that “standardisation” of data
    collection methods on performance management, commissioning and
    client monitoring “would greatly increase providers’

    It also points to the lack of specific funding from the
    Department of Health for alcohol treatment services compared with
    drug services, and the absence of an overall national body with
    responsibility for monitoring alcohol treatment.

    The National Treatment Agency, the arms-length government body,
    is currently working on a national framework for treatment, called
    Models of Care for Alcohol Misusers, which is due to be published
    in November.

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